Restaurant review: Scarfes Bar, WC1
- Credit: Archant
It’s design is inspired by the atmosphere of a gentlemen’s club drawing room, yet – like its food – the grandeur, dark wood, artwork and luxurious furnishings could fit just as easily in colonial India.
Scarfes Bar, which is attached to the luxury five star Holborn hotel The Rosewood, immediately transported me back to the opulent Anglo-Indian decor of a Delhi hotel I recently visited – and the authentic meal which followed continued me on the journey.
Head chef Palash Mitra, previously of the Cinnamon Club, has created the menu for lunch – the main event as only light bites are served in the evening – which also includes a number of European dishes if curry isn’t your bag.
Renowned as it is as a swanky nighttime haunt, there’s also an extensive drinks list and even a whisky menu paired with Indian dishes on our visit, but we opted for the crisp and cool Greywake sauvignon blanc to showcase the piquant flavours ahead.
A beautifully smokey spiced raita with crisp vegetables served with crusty bread gave us a taste of what was to come, while the mulligatawny soup was superb and on just the right side of spicy.
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The half of lobster thermidor was, strictly speaking, a French dish with the meat mixed with a creamy sauce topped with cheese, but given an Indian twist through our accompaniment of dal makhani – a warm, fiery and hearty lentil stew which was a perfect contrast to the sweet buttery and smooth taste of the shellfish.
Our tandoori chicken dish also went well alongside the lobster, the meat intensely flavoursome and succulent, served with a tomato fenugreek sauce which had a hot kick giving way to slightly sweet, nutty flavours.
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Desserts in Indian restaurants always disappoint me given that they’re largely bought in and normally come in a plastic cartoon character, but it was well worth finding room for the chocolate pot here – a smooth, luxurious and rich mouse topped with ice cream and cocoa sprinkles.
So the message is, if you want to try authentic Indian food in really sumptuous and upmarket style, then this is the place to head.